Doug Ford has a very Doug Ford plan for fixing the problems with Ontario’s healthcare system.
What he’s gonna do, see, is he’s gonna loosen some rules so that workers from other provinces can come here and start working faster. He’s not gonna help them relocate or give them any kind of reason to want to do that, let’s not get crazy here. But as long as they’re not incompetent, they’ll be able to work all the extra hours they want!
Bingo, my friends! Problem solved! I’ll be at the cottage!
Premier Doug Ford is set to introduce changes that would let Canadian health-care workers registered or licensed in other provinces start immediately practicing in Ontario.
Currently, health-care professionals must be registered with one of Ontario’s health regulatory colleges before working in the province. However, in an effort to “overcome bureaucratic delays,” Ontario is prepared to loosen those rules.
The Ford government said it will introduce these legislative changes in February.
“To nurses, doctors, and health-care workers across Canada: if you’ve been thinking of making Ontario your new home, now’s the time to make that happen,” Ford said at an announcement in Windsor, Ont. on Thursday.
“With our new “As of Right” rules, Ontario is the first province in Canada to allow health-care workers from across the country to immediately start providing care,” Ford said.
The premier said the province is not offering financial incentives for health-care staff considering coming to Ontario.
Building on their effort to increase staffing levels, the government said it is also prepared to allow health-care professionals, including nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and others, to work outside of their regular responsibilities or settings. “As long as they have the knowledge skill, and judgment to do so,” the release reads.
That last part is a pretty good slice of nonsense, isn’t it? I’m not sure how they want me to read it, but the way I do read it is if you’re not a reckless buffoon, feel free to work yourself to the point of burnout as often as you’d like. It’s either that or as long as you can clear the very vague buffoonery bar we’re pretending to set, we can assign you to do things you’re not trained to do after your regular shift is over. Whatever it is, it’s open to any interpretation you can come up with, because the government didn’t bother explaining what the hell it means.
What we have here, basically, is pretty much what we always have. Ford sayin’ stuff and doin’ stuff, but not pausin’ to do a whole lot of thinkin’ about the stuff. I would almost be willing to let this one go at that because it’s a policy that only matters if anyone takes him up on it, but when it comes right on the heels of some pretty fundamental changes to the way we all get treatment, I can’t really do that.
The first step would be to invest in “new partnerships with community surgical and diagnostic centres” to reduce the waitlist for cataract surgeries, ensuring 14,000 more surgeries will be performed each year. These centres include both not-for-profit and for-profit clinics.
The government will also invest more than $18 million in existing centres to cover other procedural care such as MRI and CT scans, ophthalmic surgeries, minimally invasive gynecological surgeries and plastic surgeries.
The second step involves a further expansion of “non-urgent, low-risk and minimally invasive” procedures. Little detail has been provided regarding what additional procedures will be included.
The province will also be introducing legislation next month that will, if passed, allow these private clinics to conduct more MRI and CT scanning “so that people can access publicly funded diagnostic services faster and closer.”
As part of the third and final step of the province’s plan, private clinics will be allowed to conduct hip and knee replacement surgeries as early as 2024.
On the surface, this isn’t all bad. If I need a surgery or an MRI or whatever, I don’t care who does it. As long as that person is qualified and I don’t have to pay for it, great. And if it’s going to be done sooner and closer to where I live, that’s also great. But that’s the surface. There’s a lot that needs to go on beyond that point to make it all work in a way that won’t do more harm than good, and as usual, there is nothing in the way of clarity about how that’s all supposed to happen. Where are all of these staff going to come from? What are the rules about how private clinics can market additional services to people coming in for publicly funded procedures? How are we disincentivizing doctors from taking kickbacks from private clinics for prescribing more expensive tests or surgeries that patients don’t need? Are the rates these clinics are allowed to bill OHIP the same as they are in the public system or are we going to have to negotiate separate, secret deals with them so that it’s worth their time to bother with regular, non-wealthy people who don’t pay them directly? How are we preventing those wealthy people from jumping their way to the front of the treatment line?
Ford isn’t going to answer all of these questions until he has to, of course. Assuming they even have answers (I give it 60-40 odds that they don’t), we’re not going to get them until it’s right around too late. Any sooner than that and we’ll be in for another round of “oops, sorry, none of you like that. We’re changing it, don’t worry. This very slightly less crappy thing is what we had planned all along.” Although that, embarrassing as it is, is probably what we should be hoping for with this government at this point. Being able to have some limited say in our futures Is better than bumbling blindly into whatever the alternative might be.